TARGETjobs black logo
Employee relations as an area of graduate work

Employee relations: area of work

Graduates with careers in employee relations provide a link between management and employees.

Employee relations is, in essence, the old-fashioned term for human resources or personnel management. The employee relations officer was the internal go-between for employers and the workers' unions. While human resources has come to include numerous other areas such as talent management and equality and diversity, the role of the employee relations officer remains similar to its original incarnation.

It's not just older organisations, or sectors where unions have remained powerful, that employ employee relations officers. Many organisations require employee relations officers as advisers on specific areas of employment law, to negotiate during union or employee group disputes and to ensure the wider workforce is aware of company policies and procedures.

Day-to-day tasks can include:

  • maintaining employment policies
  • ensuring legal compliance
  • managing employment tribunal cases
  • advising the HR team
  • dealing with employee relations issues
  • managing issues such as long-term absence
  • maintaining good relations and consulting with trade unions

This can be a very rewarding role, ensuring the best outcomes for both the business and the employees, but at times of disputes it can be difficult.

What's required

A CIPD qualification, or further education with a strong focus on employment law, will be required. You'll need to be a good negotiator, personable and able to get on with most people. Strong problem solving and analysis skills would also be helpful. Any HR experience would be useful, especially in a sector where unions have a big influence on working conditions.

You can research employment law and legislation and get an introduction to trade unions on GOV.UK or via the Department for Work and Pensions.

Supported by

This describes editorially independent and objective content, written and edited by the GTI content team, with which the organisation would like to be associated and has provided some funding in order to be so. Any external contributors featuring in the article are independent from the supporter organisation and contributions are in line with our non-advertorial policy.

Advertising feature by

This describes content that has been written and edited in close collaboration with the organisation, who has funded the feature; it is advertising. We are committed to upholding our ethical values of transparency and honesty when dealing with students and feel that this is the best way not to deceive consumers of our content. The content will be written by GTI editors, but the organisation will have had input into the messaging, provided knowledge and contributors and approved the content.

In Partnership

This content has been written or sourced by AGCAS, the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services, and edited by TARGETjobs as part of a content partnership. AGCAS provides impartial information and guidance resources for higher education student career development and graduate employment professionals.